Almost a week in – thoughts on Final Cut Pro X (FCPX)

by planetMitch7 Comments

It has been almost a week since FCPX was released and I thought you'd want to know some of my thoughts… I'm sure many of you won't agree, but that's ok – that's what makes the world go around!

By the way, found this little tidbit on macrumors… (which is an excerpt of the original article on “iMovie '08 Was Originally Called ‘First Cut', Ubillos on Final Cut Pro X

Steve Jobs told the story when he originally introduced iMovie during a keynote in August 2007, but left out some details. According to Mellicker, Ubillos returned from vacation and found that Final Cut wasn't ideal for organizing raw footage. From that experience, First Cut was born which would let you import your raw footage and quickly skip through, organizing and building a rough edit. The intention originally was to then export to Final Cut Pro. At some point, Apple officially latched onto the project and turned it into the new iMovie '08.

Redrock Micro

My thoughts

First, some background on me – I was a software developer for 32 years and I've lived thru radical changes like this from both sides – as a developer and as a user. Both sides suck. I'm also not a FCP 7 guru – I rarely used it – I use iMovie much more because it is simple and I've grown with it long before I got into HDSLRs. I don't often use the features everyone is saying are missing so I don't “miss them” right now… but I do understand your pain – don't for a second think that I'm belittling anyone's pain.

Ok, right off the bat – Apple screwed up big time on this one – not because they left out feature xyz, but because they didn't properly set expectations and they didn't have proper documentation and training available on day 1. When Aperture 3 was released, there were a bunch of tutorials available on Apple's site on day 1! Their ‘do everything in secret' policy is OK, as long as they are able to adequately set expectations once the product is released. FAIL.

Second, I am tired of people saying this is iMovie pro and the user interface (UI) sucks. Look, everyone saw the UI in the presentations from the NAB supermeet in April. Everyone should have known the UI was very much iMovie like. This is no surprise!

Third, if you happened to have seen the “Titans” episode on CNBC last week, the subject was Steve Jobs. I watched and walked away with a renewed understanding that Steve's way is to ‘reinvent' the way things should be done for the future – that's just the way he is. He understands some people will be upset and he's ok with that. It is now part of the Apple mentality take it or leave it. He often quotes Henry Ford ‘If I'd have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me “A faster horse.” ‘ – while I understand that and believe that Steve's on the right track in changing the way we use computers and software, there's also point 4:

Fourth, one of the main takeaways I had from developing software over the years is that developers are much better off when they are able to get ownership of the end product from the customer – and to get that ownership feeling, the users (customers) need to feel that they were a part of the process. This is where Apple failed miserably! That feeling is backed up just Sunday evening (when I was writing this) by Larry Jordan in his latest article “Apple’s Challenges“.


On Saturday, Chris Fenwick hosted a little group of editors on UStream and they spent 2 hours going over some of the FCPX shortcomings. Sorry Chris, but it was torture to watch – not that there wasn't good discussion at times and I did learn things – but it was very typical of a group of users who have not been fully informed about the new application they were using. I've seen it happen time and time again when releasing software that I wrote. At first, the user doesn't understand how something works “geez this sucks!” they exclaim. Then, after you sit with them and teach them how the new application works, (assuming you've created good software) they understand how it works and then you'll hear “hey, this is cool” — that's exactly what was happening at Chris' UStream. I urged them to do it again in a month when they were more familiar with the software and they agreed it was something they'd do.

Without proper training and materials (again, Apple screwed up here big time), people will not understand the new application and will bash it whether it works or not because they don't have ownership – they feel lost with no guidance. It is traditionally the way it works. I've lived it before over and over – both on my software development job and with purchased software – like the ‘new iMovie' flop.

Apple/Steve Jobs also realize that there will be a group of editors who leave and go to Adobe Premiere Pro or over to Avid – but they believe that the video editing market is going to be huge in the future and they have positioned iMovie to be the basic editor – and FCPX is the pro editor (which by the way imports iMovie assets – get the hint?).

They will sell tons of copies of FCPX in the next 10 years and are not afraid to lose a few old fans along the way. They would have sold even more if they were to have gotten ownership from the editing community instead of taking it away. They're going to have to go into major recovery mode or they're going to lose a big hunk of the community – bigger than they were willing to lose in the first place.

But I still believe that in the long run, in a year or so, FCPX will rock. I'm certainly using it now and will continue to explore and learn from those who have tutorials ready (more on that shortly too).

P.S. Oh how I'd love to be a fly on the wall at Apple FCPX headquarters!

P.P.S – there's a petition “Final Cut Pro X is Not a Professional Application

P.P.P.S – new review from Macworld

P.P.P.P.S (am I doing that right?) FCPX is being used by people already to create work… here's an example:

Jenna & Reggie's Wedding Highlight – Studio Mountain – FCPX EDIT from studio mountain on Vimeo.

Jenna & Reggie's Wedding

Location: San Antonio, Tx

This wedding shoot was one of the most challenging wedding shoots for me. The main reason is that I was the only camera man shooting and with limited equipment because this was my friends wedding(limited budget) and I am coming from the California coast. I started out with only one Canon 7D until I found a camera store in Texas that actually rents out these cameras so then I had two and found a second tripod to accompany my dinky 20 dollar tripod that I brought because the thing was easy to take on the plane. Another challenge was the lack of lenses I had. I borrowed a Nikon lens since I had an adaptor and with me I have a 24mm 1.4 and a 70-200 and one glidecam 2000. The other challenge was the lighting. The ceremony started during the day and ended nightfall. So that was a challenge especially in post. Speaking of post this was entirely 100 percent edited in the new FINAL CUT PRO X that came out less than a week ago from apple with a lot of issues which are known to many editors out there including me. I would have to say “fcpx” is a pain in the a#$ to use at the moment. The last challenge was the audio which is a biggie for me. The DJ's equipment failed to provide me with a quality output so I was very disappointed. But overall this was the outcome in this final edit. If I had more camera men and equipment with cooperation from vendors which I usually do then this edit would've been EPIC!

P.S The makeup artist didn't want to be filmed… O.o

(cover photo credit: snap from the startup screen)

Zeiss Cinema Lenses


  1. Definitely missed the plot on a number of things, but I am confident that the next dot release will make a lot of people happy.

    I have not bought it yet. Will soon though 🙂

  2. I really hope Apple starts opening doors. Invite people to talk and make a list.

    After that, talk more and present a roadmap for the next few months so people will know what they can expect.

    As for the training, they should have pointed towards a company like Ripple Training. Their training covers a lot and also has a nice price.

    I totally agree on the bashing. I do small trainings on a regular base and I still am amazed about how many people don’t have the basic knowledge about their editor. I say to them: sfop wasting your energy and start learning.

    And….before you buy your software: inform yourself, as if you were buying a new camera or even a house. That will bring you to the right choice.

  3. You did a great job with this edit and with the shooting. I applaud you as a one man show for this event. I am still amazed to see how much money people spend for their weddings and then tell the cinematographer that they don’t have anything left in their budget. I realize these were your friends, but it’s also their wedding day. Without you, all the money spent on that beautiful lighting, gown, venue, flowers, food, etc. would all be a distant memory come midnight.

  4. I think you have made some interesting points in your article, but I believe you made one glaring mistake. You said that you believe FCPX will become huge in video editing in the future, but I would only say that it, because FCP is already huge has the potential to stay huge in the future if Apple quickly comes out and works towards fixing the problems that are making all of the professional video editors leave FCP for Premiere or Avid. If they do not get on top of this in a very un-Apple like way, i.e. don’t wait 2 years, then they will lose the market share and pros will move to an application that will continue to support their old projects. If they do not immediately fix that main issue, then no one will have a reason to stay with FCP and will go get what works best for their needs.

    The other point that is going to hinder Apple’s ability to grow in video editing is the cost of FCP, at $300 it is not exactly consumer friendly. Some may be willing to pay for it but I don’t believe as many as they think. They are going to have to depend on pro’s or FCP will die off soon.

    Just another thought is that Apple is alienating their loyal customers, getting rid of apps people still use, trying to make the world get rid of non-download based media (people still buy DVD’s and Blu-Ray discs, they also still like physical media you can take anywhere and play on any machine), and they are not offering upgrade pricing (yes, I know Apple says it is a new product, but that is a lie it is still called Final Cut Pro). All of these are reasons why editors and post facilities should actually consider leaving FCP for someone who does not have a track record for changing their products and stopping support for all the features people still use and old projects in general.

  5. “P.P.P.P.S (am I doing that right?) FCPX is being used by people already to create work… here’s an example:”

    Ok. Now take the video and try laying it off on a HDCam or D5 in Final Cut X.

    I’m sure Final Cut X is a great application but maybe an application for 2015 when clients stop asking for deliveries on DVD and physical tapes.

    Final Cut X is great for Wedding Videographers but most definitely not for Broadcast editors. It’s a shame.

  6. Has anyone looked at the “new and improved” Motion? I’m sorry, but it sure looks to be a huge disappointment. Guess that’s why it’s only $49.99.

  7. Pingback: NLESystems Blog » Almost a week in – thoughts on Final Cut Pro X (FCPX)

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